Orcs, or Harsh Folk, come in two distinct varieties; The Shaguk-mim, more commonly called Common Orcs, and the Shaguk-cur, or Greater Orc. The Common Orc is the smallest and least organized of the Harsh Folk. They combine all of the worst qualities of the various Orc breeds with few of the better ones – not that any are good in any sense of the word. They are viciously barbaric, practicing cannibalism on one another, infanticide on their young, and fratricide within their own clans. Only the strongest of wills and dominant of personality can command them, but in doing so often make a powerful warband for evil creatures.
Common Orcs are of heavy build, with short, thick legs and long powerful arms. They move with a loping gait due to their unbalanced length of leg to torso and have a vaguely ape-like shape. Like their Greater Orc cousins they are constantly stooped in a hunched posture. Common Orcs stand around 5’ ½ feet in height, though if they were to (if able) stand upright, they would easily reach 6’ to 6 ½’ feet tall. They have a grotesque face that seems set in a permanent snarl. Their lower jaw is set with up-thrust teeth that are visible even with lips together, their Greater brethren bearing large and formidable tusks as well. Their tough, filthy hide has a sickly green color to it and often is covered in sores, scabs and puss filled boils. In fact, because of their tortured build, Orcs live out their often short, brutal lives in constant discomfort. The only highpoints being mealtime or when battle is joined and they are able to pass on their suffering to others.
Common Orcs are, in general, a cowardly lot, joining in any type of cooperation only when forced to by a powerful being or creature. They respect power and terror above all things. Shaguk-mim also have a strong aversion to sunlight, being mostly blind in the light of day, this promotes a deep fear of the daytime. Added to this is a potent fear of running water, Common Orcs will go to great lengths to avoid crossing such if any other means is available. Despite their natural cowardice, when mobilized into a fighting force they excel in matters of war. They are also naturally gifted smiths, easily the rival of both Elf and Dwarf, though they rarely make anything that doesn’t pertain to combat. Deceptively crude looking, Orcish weapons and armor are exceptionally well made and effective; only pride prevents the fairer races from regularly using Orcish arms (and perhaps a distinct problem with acquiring such items).
Greater Orcs, or Shaguk-Cur, are larger, stronger and smarter than their common cousins. They are found in self governing societies with their own motives and agendas, though these almost always pertain to bloodshed and slaughter. Shaguk-Cur can be found in any clime, thriving in the bleakest desert ormost fetid swamp. Greater Orcs stand from 6 ½ – 7’ tall but like their lesser cousins would stand much taller if not constantly hunched over. They have long barrel-chested torsos defined by large, bunchy chest and shoulder muscles. Their fiercely powerful arms hang to their knees, ending in large clawed hands. Greater Orcs have a naturally tough and leathery hide. Despite being riddled with warts, scars, and patches of mangy hair, their skin has a remarkably smooth texture. Many Shaguk-Cur often ritually scar and tattoo their hides to show battle honors and strength. Greater Orcs often see scars and wounds as a sign of honor and afford Orcs who have them more respect than their unmarked kin.
Their cruel and slanted eyes gleam with a feral cunning. Orcish irises vary in color from pink to dark red-brown, surrounded by sickly yellow sclera and wrinkled, lashless lids. While not as sensitive to light as Common Orcs, they still have an aversion to the brightest daytime hours. Many Shaguk-Cur have an underdeveloped sense of smell and taste, probably due to their horrific diets of raw, often disease ridden, meat. Their ears are pointed and lobeless, sweeping back from their skulls. Skin colors range from a sickly yellowish green to a dark verdant green, usually darkening with age.
A variant of the Shaguk, called the Scrug Orc, have a solid blackish color to their skins. Often referred to by the other races as Black Orcs, these are the largest of the Orcish breeds. Standing a full head taller than the Shaguk-Cur, the Shaguk-Mar are by far the largest and most violent of all the breeds. Not given to leadership, they are often found as guards and protectors to other powerful Orcs (or even other creatures).
Another breed of Orc-Kind is the Vard Orc, or Shaguk-wo. Identical in every respect to the Shaguk-Cur except for one important difference, they have four arms. All arms are fully functional and Vard Orcs are often trained in various combinations of weapons, wielding a spear, shield , sword and mace simultaneously to deadly effect. Perhaps they’re at their deadliest as archers, being able to wield a shield and sword while raining down missile fire at the same time. In fact Vard Orcs have been known to use two crossbows, reloading one while firing the other.
Grey Orcs, or Shaguk-gul, are perhaps the most dangerous of all Orc-kind. Being powerfully innate sorcerers and conjurers, they often amass large stockpiles of knowledge, nearly always falling into the most dire necromantic rituals and vile magicks. Shaguk-gul have a tough grey hide but are otherwise very similar in features to all of their cousin breeds, with the exception of their posture. They stand upright and are thus absent of the loping gait associated with Orc-Kind. Being more closely related to Shaguk-mim than to Greater Orcs, they lack the sheer raw strength of some of the larger breeds – Their significantly greater intellect makes up for any deficiency of size however.